I am a ginger. I burn easily & tan a little & freckle a lot. As a little freckle-faced kid, I was given false hope from well-meaning adults that my freckles would fade when I grew up. Liars!! Today, at nearly thirty-six, I have more freckles than ever & I have given up that hope. It did not help at all that I spent years working outdoors as a land surveyor…adding wrinkles to my freckles. Sigh.
My daughters inherited Paul’s skin tone. They have brown skin & do not burn easily. Silas, on the other hand, takes after his momma. His skin is milky white & he burns very easily. He already has a sprinkle of freckles across his nose & cheeks. I really want to take care of my babies’ skin. I want to allow them moderate sun exposure & protect them from burns. I also want to avoid covering their skin with sunscreens which are full of harmful synthetic ingredients.
So Paul & I have talked about creating an all natural sunscreen. There are many good recipes out there. With various combinations of butters & oils, they will all create a safe & natural sunscreen with a low to moderate SPF. The best ingredient in a natural sunscreen will be coconut oil. Coconut oil is great for your skin (& your hair too!). We cannot say enough good things about coconut oil & we sell lots of it!
The thing is, coconut oil alone seems to be as effective as any other natural sunscreen recipe that we have tried. So we have hesitated to develop a ‘sunscreen’ of our own & package & market it to our customers as such. It seems a little…gimmicky. Coconut oil is a wonderful moisturizer while protecting skin from light sun exposure. Paul doesn’t feel that he can really improve upon coconut oil as a stand-alone sunscreen without adding zinc oxide. While zinc oxide is not harmful to skin, it certainly is not beneficial, creating a barrier on top of the skin which can clog pores & prevent air flow.
You see, every product that we create & sell is a product that we truly believe is the best. We believe that our soap is the very best soap that you can buy. We believe that our lip balm is the very best blend of the very best ingredients. Commercial versions of these products are using synthetic ingredients to try to imitate the effects that our real ingredients achieve quite naturally. They use synthetic ingredients to cut costs, not to improve the product.
We will never use synthetic ingredients in our products, never. Therefore, we can never offer a sunscreen with a high SPF. In making the choice to use all natural ingredients in our products, we are able to offer soaps, balms, oils & lotions far superior to our commercial counterparts. But in the sunscreen department, we can not match the results of a synthetic product.
So, allow me to share the safest method of sun protection, the way in which I protect my family’s delicate ginger skin. I believe that the best sunscreens are clothing & shade. First, clothing. I know it’s not glamorous, but it is a fact that light protective clothing is the most effective sunblock (& safest for your skin). Silas wears a hat in the sun…always always always. All three of my little kids wear sleeves outside & swim shirts at the pool. And shade. Seek out the shade! I am lucky to have a very shady backyard. The kids run around out there with no clothes & get a moderate amount of sun as it filters thru the trees. Perfect.
Now, what about a week at the beach? Entire days in direct sun. I use a commercial product with zinc oxide. Common sense tells me that the risk of burning outweighs the risk of occasional sunscreen use. Ewg.org is an awesome place to research commercially available sunscreen products. As is so often the case in life, moderation is key!
In other EarthyBrowns news, we are preparing for a super weekend. As always, Paul will be at the Douglass Loop Farmers Market on Saturday from 10 til 2. I will be at the Old Louisville SpringFest all day on Saturday. And we will also be at the Buy Local First Fair on Sunday from 2 til 6. Oh my, how busy are we!! The weather will be lovely so come on out & find us!